Moved by Tornado's Devastation, Girls Start Fundraiser at Batavia-Geneva Rivalry Games

After seeing the devastation of Washington, IL, firsthand, the Batavia girls basketball team proposes "Rivalry to Rebuild Washington." The girls' game is at 5:45 p.m. and boys play at 7:15 p.m. Dec. 6 at Batavia High School.

During the Batavia High School varsity girls basketball trip to Morton High School on Friday, Nov. 29, the team drove through Washington, IL, to see the damage wrought on the community by the recent tornado. 

The scenes of devastation were indelible; they moved the team to tears.

“The sight that we saw in Washington is something I will never forget, and it touched my heart beyond anything that words can explain,” said team member Liza Fruendt. “Every day is a new gift, and our hearts and prayers go out to the people in Washington.”

Coach Kevin Jensen was also deeply affected by the experience.

“There are no words that can describe what we saw. I am not afraid to admit that I was unable to hold back tears as we saw what was left of a community ripped apart. I have yet to see a picture or video that comes close to representing what we saw that day.  It was one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had. It reminded us all that we have so many reasons to be thankful,” Coach Jensen said.

A sense of disbelief, gratitude for what they have, and compassion for the Washington community is compelling the young women to take action.

"Driving through Washington didn't feel real,” Erin Bayram said. “I never thought something like that could actually happen until I saw it with my own eyes. It was extremely emotional and I instantly knew we needed to do something to show our support to the town."

The Batavia girls basketball team will show their support for the Washington community by collecting monetary donations during the girls/boys double-header versus Geneva High School on Friday, Dec. 6. The girls game starts at 5:45 p.m., the boys at 7:15 p.m.    

“I am hoping that the generosity of our two communities will come through in a big way,” Coach Jensen said. “I am so lucky and so thankful to be part of the Batavia community; I think we have a chance to do something very meaningful for a community in need.”

Community members can also make donations during the lower level games on at 5:45 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, or they can drop them off at Batavia High School in care of the Batavia girls basketball team.

SOURCE: School District 101


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